This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
Video note: This week's torrent is in a format I can't figure out how to clip, so I'm converting it to something I know works. This process is currently scheduled to complete at around 9 PM. So no video today, unfortunately. I'll add it later. [UPDATE: Video added.]
Goofy new complicated metric note: I was convinced to try out a "Rock-Paper-Scissors" metric and tried but it didn't really work because I forgot about it 80% of the time. I will try again next week. Those will be the "RPS" +/- below; the general concept is that when Michigan's coaches get owned by someone else's playcall they get a minus and vice versa; Moeaki Disaster I, when Iowa released their TE into the seam after duping Williams into a blitz, was the inspiration for this.
Personnel notes: Woolfolk moved to corner and Williams re-entered the starting lineup as a safety; Kovacs was usually the guy in the box and Woolfolk the deep guy, but sometimes they switched. Michigan's rotation on the defensive line continued, but Will Campbell replaced Renaldo Sagesse as Mike Martin's primary backup. Not sure why, because Campbell proved he was not ready.
Michigan broke out a flat, aggressive package like so:
I think this is something USC runs from time to time called "double eagle".
You can see the NT head-up on the center and the two DTs in tight against a standard ace formation. Each guy is flanked by two linebacker-type players, Michigan is in man on the outside (see Woolfolk following the receiver in motion), and they're going to slant into the backfield. Suggestions as to what to call this welcome.
On with the show:
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O34||1||10||I-Form||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Mouton||1|
|RVB gets walled off by a double team but this was a double from a playside guy and there was no chance he was going to run through that. This allows LBs to flow to the hole unimpeded. Roh(+0.5) shoves a guy away and ends up off balance but in the hole and he delays the tailback with a missed tackle attempt. Meanwhile, it looks like Mouton has done something disastrous by heading inside of the tackle that was blocking Roh; Ezeh follows because that's his hole, and once the tailback escapes he's got a lot of green in front of him; he's thwarted by a desperate diving tackle from Mouton. Very, very fortunate. I can't minus Mouton here but I want to.|
|O35||2||9||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Yakety Sax||Warren||Int|
|Stanziball! I have no idea what the hell this was supposed to be, but it's chucked right at Warren(+1), who's not particularly near any Iowa receviers, and returned for a touchdown. Woo? Can I even cover + 1 this? I guess so.|
|Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 7-0, 14 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O43||1||10||Ace Twin TE Twins||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Martin||5|
|Note that for most of the game Michigan will run press man on the corners, something I bet they've wanted to do all year but could not. Here Martin(-0.5) gets sealed by a scoop block that gets a blocker with a great angle out on Mouton; this would be a -1 but for Martin fighting through the remaining blocker to tackle the RB as he shoots through the hole Martin ceded.|
|O48||2||5||I-Form||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Ezeh||0|
|Michigan slanting away from the play, which sees Roh shoot inside the OT upfield, dragging the tackle out of the play and leaving a pretty big hole occupied by Michigan's ILBs, the Iowa FB, and Wegher. Ezeh(+1) gets outside of the fullback, forcing the play back into Mouton(+0.5), who tackles(+1) at the LOS with help from a good fill from Kovacs(+0.5).|
|O48||3||5||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Warren||9|
|Warren is communicating something to Kovacs at the snap, which might make him flatfooted to start the play. In any case, Stanzi has plenty of time (pressure -1) to step and fire to a wide open McNutt on a simple hitch for the first (cover -1, Warren -1)|
|Iowa trying to burn Warren on a stop and go, but a blitz from Williams(+1) shoves a tailback into Stanzi, forcing him to start scrambling(pressure +1). Graham then tears through the line, knocking everyone over except Stanzi; Ezeh misses to the outside (tackling –1) and as he and Martin converge Stanzi manages to get it away.|
|M43||2||10||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Brown||7|
|Stross motions in to make this a 3 TE look. This play appears to be meant to go inside from the RB's initial angle; he bounces it out as Martin(+1) tears through a double and can't be sealed. Brown(-1), however, is, giving up the edge for a big gain. He's getting held like hell, but even so he should not be a yard behind the LOS and unable to get outside to contain this. Kovacs makes a good fill tackle(+1).|
|M36||3||3||Ace(?) Empty||Base 3-4||Pass||Hitch||--||4|
|Hitch finds a little spot in the zone and picks up the first down. Immediate tackle. Question mark in the formation is because this is an empty set from under center and therefore not an "ace"—1 RB—set, but I don't know what to call it. Whatever.|
|M32||1||10||I-Form||Base 4-3||Pass||PA Cross||Williams||Inc|
|The first enormous bust of the night on this play action. Warren is headed forward at the snap so I assume this is a blitz with a zone behind it; Ezeh(-1), Williams(-1), and Mouton(-1) all bite like hell on the play action, opening this receiver up by yards and yards (cover -2). Possible touchdown, but a terrible throw and, eventually, an incompletion.|
|M32||2||10||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||Van Bergen||-2|
|RVB(+0.5) gets playside of his guy and Martin(+0.5) does the same, so the RB goes for a cutback, which goes directly into Graham(+1), who avoided a cut and provides a thumping TFL.|
|M34||3||12||Ace 3-wide||Base 3-4||Pass||TE Short Seam||Williams||34|
|Michigan sends the house; Williams(-3) is tasked with man coverage on Moeaki and when Moeaki looks like he's going to block he blitzes; Moeaki then passes his guy off and is wide open for a killer touchdown. (RPS -2, cover -3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 9 min 1st Q. Defended pretty well, one missed hold, one missed opportunity to sack, and one huge disaster where Williams blew it and Iowa smoked a playcall.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M19||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Out||Brown||3|
|Michigan playing a zone; Brown fakes a blitz and then drops into the flat. The blitz fake does get the slot guy open, but a quick close from Warren(+0.5) and Brown(+0.5) prevents any YAC (cover +1, tackling +1)|
|M16||2||7||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Pass||TE Flat||--||5|
|Attacking that same area of the field; the WRs run off the corners and Stanzi uses the space to hit his TE releasing into the flat. Throw's a little off and the TE is clunky, so Michigan is able to react without much in the way of YAC.|
|M11||3||2||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Fade||Warren||Inc|
|Iowa's first attempt at the fade they'll run a lot. Warren(+1, cover +1) runs to it, watches the receiver take the ball in, and rakes it out.|
|Drive Notes: FG(28), 7-10, 6 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O35||1||10||I-Form||4-3 under||Pass||Waggle hitch||Warren||Inc|
|Dude, Michigan's linebackers blow this spectacularly, too, leaving guys wide open on crossing routes; Stanzi only looks for the outside receiver and ends up turfing it. Decent coverage by Warren. Good job by Heininger(+0.5) to get outside the edge blocker, cutting off the outside and forcing an awkward throw.|
|O35||2||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||Mouton||5|
|Stanzi's looking for an out or a slant to the top of the screen and can't find it (cover +1). As he tries to come down to another receiver, Heininger(+1) splits two blockers and harasses him(pressure +1) into rolling out and scrambling. Mouton's got the contain and DL are charging back from inside; he blows it(-1) by clobbering himself into a blocker, allowing Stanzi outside of him and turning zero yards into five.|
|O40||3||5||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Sack||Graham||-7|
|Slot slant is covered(+1), giving Graham(+2) time to go right around Bulaga and crush Stanzi for a sack. Martin(+1) and Roh(+1) were also bursting through, preventing any attempt to move up in the pocket (pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-10, EO1Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Deep slant||Mouton||22|
|Miscommunication of some variety as Williams flies out into the flat in a zone—it's cover three with both cornerbacks laying off and Mouton(-2) also zooming out into the flat, apparently in man on the tailback, on a play where everyone else is in zone. The vacated area is huge and it's an easy throw for Stanzi to a receiver breaking wide open. (Cover -2).|
|M24||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Out||Brown||Inc|
|Trying the out that they used a lot in an attempt to exploit our lack of a third corner; Brown is in decent position and can probably tackle on the catch if there is one; there isn't because of Stanzi's inaccuracy. (Cover +1)|
|M24||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Wheel||Williams||Inc|
|Stanzi gets some momentary time on a dropback until Graham(+0.5) pushes through to get late pressure and force a back-foot throw. Stanzi pumps and looks for a wheel route that's well covered by Williams (+1, cover +1) but way underthrown. If this was Texas Tech it would be an intentional back-shoulder throw they drill all the time; IMO, this is just plain lucky. Ball is too far underthrown to be caught despite a valiant attempt by the RB.|
|M24||3||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Slant||Warren||Inc|
|Michigan again sends the house, forcing a quick throw; it's a slant that Warren(+1, cover +1) gets up on and maybe helps be incomplete. More helpful was a high and hard throw. A catch was going to be a couple yards short of the first, anyway.|
|Drive Notes: FG(41), 14-13, 12 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O22||1||10||Ace Twin TE Twins||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Ezeh||2|
|Ezeh(+1) is running downhill from the snap, busting into the backfield and forcing a cutback; RVB(+0.5) has avoided a cut and flows down the line to tackle (+1).|
|O24||2||8||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Draw||Martin||2|
|This looks like it's about to open up nicely as Martin has blasted to the left of the center, leaving a big gap between himself and Graham outside the tackle. Michigan has also blitzed to the outside, leaving no support downfield until you get to Kovacs. This looks dangerous, but Martin's(+1) terrific agility allows him to come around the C and tackle(+1) the RB as he crosses the LOS.|
|O26||3||6||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Slant & Go||Warren||33|
|Again they're going after Warren on a double move; Warren recovers and is in great position on this but Stanzi chucks it anyway and just happens to get it in the only place it can go, allowing Stross to lay out to make a diving catch. Indefensible, a DO+ 1 from the opposition, and a (cover +1, Warren +1) from Michigan. What's more is Stanzi threw this with Williams in his face. Just one of those plays where you tip your cap.|
|M41||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Dumpoff||Mouton||Inc|
|They again go after Warren on a slant and go, this stuff is crazy. I mean, its not like Warren has been weak the last few times he's been tested. It looks like Iowa went into this game with some sort of crazy gameplan to attack Warren. RVB(+0.5) and Graham push the line back, causing Stanzi to decide to roll out once he finds no one open (cover +1). He then throws across his body to a tailback on a little dumpoff route that Mouton(+1, cover +1) breaks on and breaks up; another step and he can intercept. Stanziball.|
|M41||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Yakety Sax||--||-14|
|Snap over the head.|
|O45||3||24||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Post||Williams||47|
Aaaaargggggghghghgh. One: it's third and twenty-four, the safeties should not be ten yards deep. They should be 15-20 or whatever. Two: there's not even anyone running sort of in between on Williams(-3), who has no excuse for not giving Warren the deep safety help he expects (cover -3); this is just a huge bust. Robinson on third and twenty-five:
|M8||1||G||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Campbell||5|
|Campbell(-1) in and showing why he's not playing more: he gets blown three yards off the ball and sealed by the center in a way that Martin just does not. [Editor's note: actually, Martin will get sealed like this a few times in the second half.] This opens it up, leaving the safeties to clean up.|
|M3||2||G||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||--||2|
|Stanzi looking for a slant that isn't there as M drops into a zone (cover +1); no pressure(-1) , though, and Stanzi gets outside of Heininger, breaking for the endzone. Mouton and Williams stop him just short. Herbstreit is right that the reason this opens up is Williams(-1) getting irresponsible and sinking inside to run with a receiver instead of passing him off to Mouton; this should be no gain or a loss but for that.|
|M1||3||G||Goal line||Goal line||Run||Power off tackle||--||1|
|Not enough penetration, so Wegher can leap in.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-20, 5 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|Graham slides inside slightly with Williams outside of him; Williams blitzes, absorbing the TE. Graham(+3) smokes the tackle to the inside—shift!—and comes up the middle to sack Stanzi before any of his receivers can break open. (Pressure +2.)|
|O24||2||19||I-Form||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Graham||3|
|Martin(-1) gets scooped and sealed by a double, allowing Iowa OL downfield to seal Mouton. Graham(+0.5) bursts upfield to cut off the outside and makes a lunging tackle attempt at the RB that's unsuccessful, but it does slow the RB up enough for Roh(+0.5) to come from the backside and tackle as he nears the LOS. Without that contribution from the DEs this could be a big gainer. Kovacs was coming up but that was asking for a pretty good open-field tackle there.|
|O27||3||16||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Screen||Ezeh||6|
|Mouton(+0.5) attempts to shoot up into this when he reads it but cannot because both OL releasing downfield come together to seal him off. He's out of the play but the attention he's drawn allows Ezeh(+0.5) to come unblocked, form up, and tackle with help from RVB. (Cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-20, 2 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O31||1||10||I-Form||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Ezeh||-2|
|Big crease opens up as Roh(-1) gets sealed inside by Bulaga but Iowa can't get anyone through the line into the linebackers, for which credit goes to RVB(+0.5). Ezeh(+1) zooms up into the hole and crushes the fullback backwards, forcing the RB back inside to Mouton(+1, tackle +1), who meets the guy in the backfield for a loss. Excellent play by both linebackers; their eagerness to get to the hole will be something Iowa exploits later.|
|O29||2||12||I-Form Big||4-3 under||Run||Iso||Ezeh||2|
|Bit of a counter here as the line slides as if it's another zone play; Ezeh(+1) takes a couple shuffle steps to the right and then reads the fullback coming backside. He charges downhill, meeting the FB at the LOS and standing him up, which allows Graham(+0.5) to come around the outside and tackle(+1).|
|This is just way too easy; Iowa drags a receiver across the formation and Woolfolk goes with him, but is playing soft(-1, cover -1) and way too far off to make a tackle before the sticks. Michigan only had one deep safety on third and ten? Were they expecting another run?|
|O42||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||RB flat||Williams||9|
|Michigan dropping off into deep zones, and Iowa runs off the guy underneath to one side and then throws a safe little pass in the flat that beats the coverage (cover -1, RPS -1)|
|M49||2||1||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||Martin||1|
|Same deep zone, eight guys this time. Stanzi will have his tailback releasing for a few but for Martin(+2, pressure +2) splitting a double team, flushing Stanzi, and tracking him down as he attempts to scramble out of the pocket. He actually hurls him forward for the first down, unfortunately.|
|M48||1||10||Shotgun Trips||4-3 under||Pass||Dumpoff||--||14|
|Again Michigan drops very, very deep; by the time Stanzi rolls out of the pocket seven guys are ten or more yards downfield and dropping. This opens up plenty of room for Wegher's little dumpoff. (Cover -1). Roh(+0.5) was coming around the edge, forcing the throw.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(53), 14-20, EOH. I think the TO on third down here is a justifiable decision, but one with low upside.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O14||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Fade||Woolfolk||Inc|
|Iowa's going after Michigan's press man here, throwing a fade that Woolfolk(+1, cover +1) runs stride-for-stride with and breaks up as the ball arrives. Good play for a guy who's been playing safety all year.|
|O14||2||10||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Kovacs||19|
|Martin(-1) gets scooped again, which ends up catching Mouton in the wash; Ezeh's responsibility is outside and he runs out of the play. Kovacs makes a great read and comes up to tackle for what would be a 3-4 yard gain, but misses it (-1, tackling -1), opening up a big gainer.|
|O33||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||TE Out||Mouton||11|
|Man coverage(-1) that Mouton(-1) just gets beat on, and so badly that he can't make a tackle on the catch, turning this from five to ten.|
|O44||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||Graham||12|
|Backup DTs in, and they don't do well. Campbell ends up basically sitting at the LOS doing nothing. Graham(-1) is attempting to pass rush inside but gets stoned; he keeps running inside, giving up contain and allowing Stanzi plenty of room to run after he can't find anyone downfield (cover +1, pressure -2)|
|M44||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Campbell||15|
|Campbell(-2) is single-blocked and blown four yards downfield, opening up a cavernous cutback lane when RVB flows down the line as he's supposed to. No LB help because of a blitz from Mouton; wouldn't have helped much anyway.|
|M29||1||10||Ace Twin TE Twins||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Martin||6|
|Starting DTs back in, but Martin(-1) is again effectively scooped by Iowa. Mouton(-1) takes a cut block hard, going to the turf and getting blown out of the play; Kovacs(+1) is the last guy and makes a good open field tackle(+1).|
|M23||2||4||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Out||Brown||Inc|
|Brown(-1) appears to bust an assignment, dropping way too straight upfield to be any problem for an out route to Stross that's wide, wide open (cover -1). Stanzi's throw is errant.|
|M23||3||4||Ace 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Corner||Brown||Inc|
|Outside receiver sort of fakes a post and then goes to the corner, which may be covered OK by Kovacs. We'll never know because Stanzi left it way, way short, so short that Brown almost intercepts it. Roh(+1) gets the credit for spinning past Bulaga and hurrying a throw that came off Stanzi's back foot (pressure +1).|
|Drive Notes: FG(40), 14-23, 10 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O15||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Fade||Woolfolk||Inc|
|Again going after Woolfolk in man press; Woolfolk in decent, not unbeatable position. The throw is outside and long, glancing off Stross's fingertips.|
|O15||2||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||TE Out||Martin||Inc|
|Stanzi gets quick pressure from Martin(+1, pressure +1), who zipped past the center and threatened to sack. A Williams stumble gets the TE open with some potential to turn it up for YAC but the pressured Stanzi throw is high and incomplete.|
|O15||3||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||TE Out||Warren||Inc|
|This out is going to get swallowed up for like five yards as Warren comes up in cover 2 (cover +1) but Stanzi way overthrows it, basically throwing it to Warren. Warren drops it.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-23, 8 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O28||1||10||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Mouton||5|
|Michigan slanting away from the play and sending the linebackers to fill the holes that open up. Mouton(+1) gets around the releasing TE and has an opportunity to tackle but cannot because he's being extremely blatantly held, but there's no call. As result, Robinson can bounce off Mouton's one-armed tackle attempt and spin inside. Martin meets him after about three yards and a big pile of folks falls forward.|
|O33||2||5||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Martin||8|
|Martin(-1) scooped a third time and blown out of the hole. Mouton has to deal with a guy coming off of Martin and ends up pushed past the play; Kovacs fills and makes an okay tackle, but one that gives up some YAC.|
|O41||1||10||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||In||Woolfolk||4|
|Think Woolfolk is playing this too soft as the timing on this is off for Iowa and McNutt's sort of waiting for the ball for a second or two. However, general policy is not to ding corners for short routes on which there's no YAC and Woolfolk does come up quickly enough to grab McNutt and spin him around. This doesn't actually tackle him but it does stop him and set him up for a Graham killshot.|
|O45||2||6||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Van Bergen||1|
|Van Bergen(+1) drives the LG three yards back, opening up attack lanes for Mouton and forcing the play outside, where Michigan strings it out; Ezeh(+1) also avoided a blocker who'd released straight onto him and flew upfield to help the stringing-out process, though he couldn't tackle. On this play Martin does avoid a scoop and helps in the backfield.|
|O46||3||5||Shotgun empty||4-3 under||Pass||TE Out||Kovacs||4|
|Brown comes free on a blitz (RPS +1, pressure +1), forcing an immediate throw. TE is open as he cuts to an out but Kovacs(+1, cover +1, tackle +1) reads it and is there to tackle as soon as the ball arrives, preventing the extra yard that makes this a conversion.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-23, 1 min 3rd Q. Mathews fumbles the punt and the D has to go right back on the field.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M16||1||10||Ace Twin TE Twins||4-3 under||Pass||Waggle TE Cross||Brown||10|
|Brown(-1) gets beat in man-to-man by Moeaki, and there's no contain at Mouton(-1) gets sucked inside by the playfake, leaving Stanzi plenty of time to survey and find the open guy. (Pressure -1, cover -1)|
|M6||1||G||Ace Twins||Double Eagle?||Pass||Rollout out||Herron||Inc|
|Herron(-1) gets a free run at Stanzi (RPS +1), who's rolling out directly at him, and whiffs on a tackle(-1, pressure +1). This isn't even PA so it seems like either an Iowa bust, possibly because Michigan went with an unusual formation. Stanzi does get almost tackled by Herron and then another DL is closing in so he must throw, but it's to a guy standing OOB.|
|M6||2||G||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||RB flat||Ezeh||3|
|A little play in the flat that seems designed to exploit the same coverage deficiencies as Michigan experienced on the last drive of the half. Ezeh(+1) gets out on this, tackling as the ball arrives and holding it down about as well as anyone can expect. (Tackling +1, cover +1.)|
|M3||3||G||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Zone right||Van Bergen||1|
|RVB(+1) blows into the RG, shoving him back a couple yards and forcing the tailback inside of him, where Martin(+0.5 ) has disengaged from a double. Wegher ducks/spins under Martin, at which point three players converge to stop him.|
|M2||4||G||Goal line||Goal line||Pass||PA TE corner||Brown||Inc|
|Really selling out here to dupe Michigan, as Stanzi is given one and only one option; everyone else stays in to sell the run fake. Brown(+2) does not bite and gets out on the tight end, nearly intercepting. (Cover +1). Ezeh(+1) read the play and shot out on Stanzi, as well; he had a pulling tackle coming around to provide a run option that Ezeh erased.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-23, 14 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M42||1||10||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||PA TE Cross||EVERYONE||42|
|Well.... I don't know. Both ILBs and Kovacs freak out about the run fake as Williams pulls up to the line, leaving both tight ends wide, wide open. If Stanzi didn't throw it to Moeaki the other guy had a TD, too. Mouton -2, Ezeh -2, Brown -2, Kovacs -2, Cover -6.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-30, 12 min 4th Q. You know, if we didn't do this twice a game this would be a good defense.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O24||1||10||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Pass||Rollout out||Woolfolk||4|
|Kind of a weird way to start here but ok. Stross is slightly in front of Woolfolk and is escorted OOB immediately.|
|O28||2||6||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Woolfolk||5|
|Ezeh gets through on a twisting blitz, forcing a throw (pressure +1). Woolfolk(-0.5) is playing off a bit too far to do anything about this, but a low throw prevents any YAC.|
|O33||3||1||I-Form Big||4-3 under||Run||QB sneak||--||2|
|They get it.|
|O35||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Graham||9 (Pen -10)|
|Michigan looks misaligned, with Graham too far inside to reasonably keep contain, and indeed he gets doubled and shoved inside and this hops outside the tackles. Martin(+1) has busted into the backfield against single blocking, though, and is held all the way downfield, finally drawing the flag Iowa's avoided a few times tonight. Graham -1 for opening up the outside; this was obvious from the snap.|
|O25||1||20||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Zone counter dive||Graham||15|
|An under-center version of the play we've run to good effect a lot; Graham(-2) attempts to go outside of the crackback TE block and ends up ceding a big hole; Ezeh(-1) ran himself out of the play anticipating a stretch and fell down when he tried to come back.|
|O40||2||5||Ace 3-wide||Double Eagle?||Run||Zone left||Van Bergen||-3|
|Odd-man front this time with the three DL aligned up directly over the tackles/center. RVB(+1) blasts the sliding guard into the backfield; Martin(+1) does the same with the other guard, cutting off the play in the backfield and killing it for a loss.|
|O37||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Woolfolk||Inc|
|Woolfolk in the area and might have a play on the ball if it's accurately thrown; it is not and he definitely has a play on the ball because it's coming right to him. The receiver goes for it too, the two guys knock into each other, and the ball falls harmlessly to the turf. Em... (+1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-30, 7 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M45||1||10||I-Form Big||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||Roh||2|
|Roh(+1) slants inside, bursting into the intended path of the runner and forcing a cutback. That cutback threatens to zip past Graham, crashing inside, and Woolfolk, blitzing form the outside, when Roh(+1 again) makes a diving shoestring tackle. Yeeek. (Tackling +1)|
|M43||2||8||I-Form Big||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||Graham||4|
|They run a waggle that Graham(+1, pressure +1) gets out on by crushing the tight end back. He can't make a tackle and Stanzi escapes, rolling out to run after the close call. Want to minus one of Woolfolk or Williams for running the same coverage on not coming up on Stanzi but won't.|
|M39||3||4||I-Form Big||4-3 under||Run||Zone left||Mouton||-1|
|ILBs, as they've been most of the game, are screaming downhill at this; both of them zip through the line and their intended blockers, with Mouton(+2) crushing Robinson in the backfield. +1 for Ezeh and tackling, as well.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-30, 2 min 4th Q.|
So… they did okay?
Yeah, they did okay. They faced 15 possessions, all of which were meaningful—though one was the time-compressed drive at the end of the first half and the last couple were more concerned with killing the clock than scoring—and gave up 23 net points. Iowa started drives at the Michigan 19 and 16 and came away with 3 points from those drives. By the Mathlete's reckoning, the day was a positive one:
An average team given Iowa's field position would have averaged 37 points given where Iowa started on the day. That's a +7 for the defense to go with a pick 6.
Of course, that pick six was decidedly unforced, as were an array of other Stanzi misthrows. Michigan was the recipient of a number of unforced errors. Not as many as Iowa was on the other side of the ball, but here we're just evaluating how the defense did against a pretty mediocre offense. They did a mediocre job.
What about that timeout?
The one right before the half.
I liked it at the time but in retrospect the upside there was very low, since there were 27 seconds left and Iowa was on its 31. Even an incompletion followed by a punt leaves Michigan with 15-17 seconds and probably 40 yards to go for a long field goal attempt. And you know Michigan's not going to get a great return. About the only thing Michigan can hope for is a punt block.
Still, if you asked me to choose between that sort of error and the ones Carr made more regularly I'd go with that one. The instinct to wring another possession out of the first half is right, and usually Rodriguez is going to be calling that timeout with 1:30 or 2:00 on the clock, in which case the risk you take is more than offset by the strong possibility you'll get the ball back.
What about the other timeout?
That was on offense.
I'm asking about it now.
Fine: obviously you want that timeout a lot more than the half-yard you save by expending it but it's really hard to expect players to break years of training and not call it when the play-clock ticks down.
You want me to say chart—
|Graham||8.5||4||4.5||Had a couple issues on the ground and UFR is newly tough on vacating your lane when the QB scrambles out for good yardage, so those are the minuses. Still had two sacks.|
|Heininger||1.5||-||1.5||Split a double that contained Bulaga!|
|Roh||5.5||1||4.5||Had a couple hurries, used his athleticism well from the backside on a couple runs.|
|Herron||-||1||-1||Did little except run by Stanzi once..|
|Martin||9||4.5||4.5||Demonstrated great agility several times and had a couple good pass rush moves but got crushed off the ball four times, too.|
|Van Bergen||5||-||5||Very competent against a day of single blocking, which got him a lot of half points.|
|Sagesse||-||-||-||Also played little.|
|Campbell||-||3||-3||At least people will stop asking about him now.|
|TOTAL||29.5||14.5||15||NT collectively got blown off the ball six times and the rushing stats were still pretty good.|
|Ezeh||8.5||4||4.5||This looks like progress… now about play action?|
|Mouton||6||9||-3||Three weeks in a row: alternates great plays with killer mistakes.|
|Brown||3.5||5||-1.5||Some issues in coverage, took some of the hit for the second Moeaki TD.|
|TOTAL||18||18||0||Run filling = very good. Pass defense = very bad.|
|Warren||3.5||1||2.5||Busy day; can't blame him for either long reception.|
|Woolfolk||2||1.5||0.5||Major win relative to the other guys Michigan's thrown out there. Why hasn't he been a corner all year?|
|Kovacs||2.5||3||-0.5||Missed one tackle, made another few, good downhill box safety.|
|TOTAL||10||13.5||-3.5||Ah, disastrous safeties. How I did not miss you.|
|Pressure||12||4||8||Three sacks and a lot of harassment.|
|Coverage||19||23||-4||Actually very good except for the three disaster plays that totaled -13.|
|Tackling||12||3||9||Another good day. Wish I had English numbers to compare it against; missed tackles do seem rare, don't they?|
A step back from the DL, which was almost +30 against MSU. A step forward for the linebackers, albeit only to mediocrity, and a step back from the secondary mostly because of the return of safety doom.
So… um… delicately phrased question about Mike Williams?
Very tactful. It's hard to blame Williams for the first disastrous Moeaki touchdown. He was obviously coached to see if the TE was staying in to block and attack the QB if he did. When Moeaki set up and he reacted and Moeaki released, that was just Ken O'Keefe owning Robinson. That play caused the email that spurred the obviously goofy addition of RPS this week; these things are always goofy because I forget to track it 80% of the time I try something new. When these things occur it's not 100% on the player in question. O'Keefe noticed the tendency to blitz vast numbers sometimes (seven happened several times against MSU) and killed it dead.
I still gave him a –3, yeah. But I'm not 100% mad about it.
Third and twenty-five is a different story, there is the Robinson quote above and this still I grabbed:
You can see the TE bugging out to the sidelines and Kovacs in a deep seam zone with Warren in cover-three to the outside; Williams absolutely has to get deeper than this. There is nothing threatening him short and it's third and twenty-four. It was a huge mistake from a guy who was thrust into a new-ish position—Woolfolk was always the deep centerfield guy before—and speaks to why Michigan needed to move Woolfolk in the first place despite the evident lack of a second cornerback.
Michigan has two defensive backs and one feisty walk-on mini-linebacker. It's pick your poison.
But moving Woolfolk seemed to work out, right?
Yeah. He was tested a couple times on fade routes, breaking one up and seeing the other one glance off the WR's fingertips because his coverage was good. There were a couple errors on outs. Despite that, it was by far the best performance Michigan's gotten out of that spot all year. The Woolfolk move allowed Michigan to play the press cover man Robinson said he wanted to play in August for the first time all year, and they played it well. Michigan's going to have to hope Williams makes a quick adjustment because Woolfolk isn't moving back.
And how about Will Campbell?
Campbell got crushed backwards on two separate zone plays and basically sat at the LOS on a passing down. He was poor, and I assume we'll see Sagesse again next week. Campbell was not ready to play.
You gave a collective –8 and a cover –6 on the second Moeaki TD. Overreact much?
Hey, man, Stanzi had his choice of two different tight ends wide open for easy touchdowns. –6 coverage each, and –4 for one disastrously open receiver x 2 = –8. It's time to get serious about big negative plays. UFR is going tough love. Or something.
So I really wish I had the video for this and will revisit it tomorrow when I do. For now I'll just have to use my words: Michigan appears to have changed their style here. Early in the year, linebackers were sitting back and waiting for stuff to develop. Here's Ezeh and Mouton sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting, against Notre Dame:
Against Iowa the linebackers were screaming downhill at the first sign of zone blocking, which accounts for the +2s and TFLs and times that Ezeh smashed a FB at the LOS and closed down a hole for no gain. I think it also accounts for a large number of wide open waggle plays, amongst them Moeaki Disaster II. I'll come back to this when I have more evidence.
Delicately phrased comment about Mike Williams. Also: Mouton's got to stop making big errors. Will Campbell was extremely ineffective in limited time. Mike Martin showed a propensity to get blown back for the first time all year.
A first: I won't mention Warren or Graham first. Ryan Van Bergen's crazy hulk up after the 85-yard Indiana touchdown has now extended itself to three games. Hes only got a +5 above but when you don't get to the QB much and end up with a bunch of half-points, +5 from a DT is a good day. I no longer think of him as a weakness on the line.
Elsewhere, yes, Graham had two sacks and though he was less beastly than usual he is still a beast. And the two corners had a good day.
What does it mean for
Delaware Penn State and beyond?
Michigan's new glaring hole to attack again and again is free safety, which says things about Woolfolk and the fellows trying to replace Woolfolk. The corner play should be improved; Williams should just start playing afraid of letting anything behind him forever.
The defensive line continued being functional to good, but the disturbing ability of Iowa to blow NTs off the ball on their zone stretch plays was a new development. By my count it happened six times and was the only reason Iowa got more than 2 YPC on the ground. Penn State's shambles of an offensive line has really struggled with the stretch play this year—Iowa eviscerated them, and Michigan's just-ok OL did very well—and probably won't be able to duplicate that, but if they do look out. Royster remains dangerous when he can get past the LOS. Which he cannot regularly. That matchup will be one to watch early.
I've been saying this for a few weeks now: if Michigan can just stop making huge freaking errors this defense can be okay. They made some huge freaking errors against Iowa and were still okay, but Iowa's offense was a participant in that. Penn State and Ohio State look to also be participating-type offenses, though, and Illinois definitely is. It'll be hairy. On the podcast this week I called the defense "competition-invariant": they have talent and do well when they use it but when they make an error is so huge that even Indiana can exploit it ruthlessly, so the defense kind of plays the same against everyone.
This should be a mondo update, since there wasn't a true recruiting post last week. Brace yourself, and if you need some context, check out the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
Get 'em Early
ESPN provides one of the fluffiest Devin Gardner articles humanly possible:
Putting a football in Devin Gardner's hands is like handing a master artist a paint brush and an empty canvas.
It's your standard "lots of words with no information"-type article, other than mentioning that Gardner intends to enroll early at Michigan. Devin's gone back-and-forth about whether he wants to come in for the winter semester, but it appears his on-again, off-again relationship with that plan is in the on-again phase.
Rich Rodriguez has mentioned that he doesn't want to see high schoolers miss out on their opportunity to play winter and spring sports in high school, but since Gardner is participating in the ESPNU/Under Armour All-American Bowl, a (terrible) MHSAA rule prevents him from playing sports afterward. He wouldn't be missing out on much other than the prom.
(Gardner photo by Tom Hauck for ESPN.com.)
In other potential early-enrolling athletes, I brought this up in yesterday's Friday Night Lights post, but TX RB Stephen Hopkins also plans to enroll early. That brings the unofficial list to the following:
- MI QB Devin Gardner
- TX RB Stephen Hopkins
- MI WR Ricardo Miller
- OH WR Jerald Robinson
- OH OL Christian Pace
- FL S Marvin Robinson
That's always subject to change. Back to Hopkins for a moment, though, as MGoReader Phil Sampson fills me in that the big game against Southlake Carroll should be available for listening on the internet at http://www.kkgmam.com/. The game takes place Friday at 7:30 CDT. Phil warns that if you tune in early, you'll be subjected to some bad music.
In the Army Now
MN OL Seantrel Henderson was officially selected to the Army All-American Bowl, which is probably the least shocking moment in human history. No mention of Michigan in the recruiting snippets, for what it's worth. That's a somewhat regular occurrence, though insider-y rumblings still say that he likes Michigan. For what it's worth, his friend MN Ath JD Pride committed to Minnesota, but says he won't pressure Seantrel to join him.
Elsewhere in Official Army Selections, WI P Commit Will Hagerup got the treatment on Thursday. Rivals AMP was there:
For the record, Hagerup mentions that he'll arrive in Ann Arbor over the summer, which is a good sign that he has no intention of enrolling early.
SO MUCH STUFF ABOUT VISITS
AZ S Marquis Flowers plans to visit Michigan "later this month." That will be for the Penn State game, obviously. More on Penn State visits in next week's recruiting update, of course.
CA S Sean Parker visited Cal for the USC game, and the only other visit he's sure about is Michigan. He's planning to wait out a decision, so if Michigan has a good season, there's definitely a chance to land him. Rivals insists that he has not committed to USC ($, info in header). "Hey, that thing that nobody believes? It's not true!"
Michigan continues to lead for PA CB/S Cullen Christian, despite his shiny new offer from Ohio State. He plans to visit Ann Arbor for the November 21st contest against the Buckeyes, and decide a couple days after. That timeline looks good for Michigan. JC Shurburtt has more:
"I am going to decide Nov. 24 during a press conference at my high school," Christian said. "Right now, my top two schools are Michigan and West Virginia. Every school has a shot, though, and things could change when I take my official visits."
"They were just my favorite team growing up as a kid," Christian said. "They gave me my first offer. They recruit me the hardest, and I just love Michigan."
Again, sounds like the Wolverines are entrenched as his leader. As for his teammate, PA S Brandon Ifill, things don't look nearly as rosy from a Michigan perspective. He favors Maryland and Pitt ($, info in header), and Rutgers is recruiting him the hardest. It's fair to say that Michigan would prefer to only get Christian out of this duo.
Most analysts assume that FL LB Christian Jones is a lock to Florida State, since he's a legacy and his brother plays there. Despite Michigan falling off his radar lately, the Wolverines are still in the mix for an official visit ($, info in header). ESPN confirms that Michigan is one of the contenders for an official visit. I'll believe it when I see it, since he's been completely forgotten about by Michigan fans.
FL CB Tony Grimes (who still favors Michigan, Ole Miss, and Wisconsin) will be taking his Michigan visit for the Ohio State game at the end of November. That's shaping up to be a blockbuster recruiting weekend, with CA RB/LB Anthony Barr visiting as well.
Michigan is "still alive" with GA DT Mike Thornton ($, info in header), and he's considering the Wolverines for one of his official visits ($, info in header). Sam Webb elaborates in the Detroit News:
Those skills caught the attention of Michigan assistant Jay Hopson last summer. The Wolverines' Peach State recruiter wasted little time making very clear the magnitude of his program's interest.
"He told me they were looking for a great defensive tackle and they found that in me," Thornton recalled. "They needed to see my academic work and they offered a day later, actually." ...
"I talked to coach Hopson last week," Thornton said. "I haven't watched them play yet, but I've been hearing good things about them. I'm still going to get up there (on a visit). I just don't know when yet. "
Talk about defensive tackles and whatnot.
PA DT Shariff Floyd probably won't visit North Carolina with one of his officials, and Michigan is one of the options to fill that slot, along with Ohio State. I would predict that Michigan gets that visit for the Ohio State game if the Wolverines continue their winning ways, and he hasn't decided on a school by that time. He remains a longshot.
MN DT Beau Allen is down to five finalists, all of whom will receive official visits. He's already been to Wisconsin, and he's still setting up trips to Notre Dame, Stanford, Minnesota, and Michigan.
It looks like Michigan is on the outside looking in for FL OT Tyler Moore. He planned to announce a decision "very soon," and made it in favor of Nebraska. Brian, his dad, points out that a verbal commitment might not be a final decision, so he might not drop completely off the radar when he commits to one of those schools.
Sam Webb's "Dandy Dozen" - the top twelve instate recruits in the 2011 class in no particular order - are presented for your perusal, with relevant recruiting comments from the article following each recruit.
DeAnthony Arnett, WR, Saginaw, 6-0, 170, 4.51 - Offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan and Tennessee already have come through for the talented youngster. Aside from taking a few visits to some of aforementioned schools, Arnett has made recruiting a back-burner issue.
Arnett is widely considered to be a Michigan lean, though he doesn't have any public favorites. When I talked to him in August, he said he was going to take his time with the recruiting process.
Justice Hayes, RB, Grand Blanc, 5-11, 185, 4.5 - Allen Trieu: "He grew up a Michigan State fan, but Northwestern is recruiting him hard and his teammate Tony Jones is committed there. Then you have Michigan, who fits his style of play and he has had good visits to. He is wide open right now."
Talky. Hayes recently spoke to Rivals' MichiganPreps, where he gave a similar picture of his recruitment, adding that he has one offer, from Iowa. It also included video:
...and back to the Webb article:
Delonte Hollowell, CB, Detroit Cass Tech, 5-9, 165, 4.5 - "Central Michigan and Michigan offered me," added Hollowell. "Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State -- a lot of schools have been sending mail. I'm going to try to go to an Iowa game and maybe an Illinois and Michigan State game. Michigan State has sent mail and I talked to the defensive backs coach, Coach (Harlan) Barnett."
Don't be too frightened by that last comment. Michigan is the leader for Hollowell, though "because I don't have any other offers except for Central Michigan" doesn't imply that the Wolverines have an iron grip.
Lawrence Thomas, LB, Detroit Renaissance, 6-4, 237, 4.65 - Trieu: "Michigan State is the team to beat, but I get the feeling a lot of schools from all over are about to turn up the heat on him."
Michigan recently extended an offer to Thomas ($, info in header), but are definitely playing from behind.
Willie Beavers, OT, Southfield Lathrup, 6-5, 327, 5.1
Bryan Bell, OT, Walled Lake Central, 6-5, 290, 5.0
Ashton Gaines, WR, Detroit Crockett, 5-11, 170, 4.6
Jamal Hosley, WR, Highland Park, 5-9, 160, 4.4
Taiwan Jones, LB/WR, Anchor Bay, 6-4, 200, 4.7
Willie Snead, WR, Muskegon Heights, 6-0, 180, 4.5
Dwight Trammer, LB, Inkster, 6-1, 225, 4.7
Anthony Zettel, OG, West Branch Ogemaw Heights, 6-3, 255, 4.9
I believe Bell grew up a Michigan fan, though the early word is that he hasn't heard a whole lot from the Wolverines. Willie Snead plays quarterback in high school, but projects as a WR/DB. Trammer is a teammate of Devin Gardner, and likes Michigan (Michigan might like him, too: I overheard Wolverines QB coach Rod Smith asking what number he was at a recent Inkster game). Anthony Zettel is considered a mortal lock to the maize and blue if they see him worthy of an offer.
Now that I've given you most of the interesting information from the article, I feel obligated to encourage you to check it out. Seriously, it's really good stuff.
FL RB Demetrius Hart is going to be a top prospect in the Sunshine State next year, probably ringing in around 4 stars. He's also considered a Michigan lock, though I have no idea why:
"Of course, they are my top team," Hart said. "I don't think I will commit now, but I will commit later to Michigan."
Nope, I haven't the slightest clue. Hart took in a Michigan game last year, and has set a visit for this season as well. I'd bet one of my kidneys that it's for either the Penn State or the Ohio State game, both of which are shaping up to be blockbuster recruiting events. Win plz. Hart is also a candidate for Orlando Sentinel Offensive Player of the Year, probably because he does stuff like this.
Yeah, it's totally time for a 2011 recruiting board. Look for it next week.
As mentioned in last week's recruiting update, Michigan offered CA WR Kenny Stills. "Offered" DE RB Jamaal Jackson will decide after his senior season. CA CB Joshua Shaw will no longer visit Michigan. The Wolverines are pushing for a visit from SC CB John Fulton.
Annoying reminder. Acquire your cancer kicker bracelets by donating on the right sidebar and help out Phil Brabbs. You will feel like much less of a heel after you do this. Brabbs and his wife also have a video blog up about their first week with Brabbs on chemotherapy.
Oops. You know, I saw this Daily article detailing this new pitch play Michigan was working on, and I thought "that's really cool, I wonder why more practice articles aren't this specific":
In a rotation that was repeated about four times, a quarterback and running back lined up to practice a simple outside pitch play. Though the play was basic, the pairings were different than usual.
FTR: Rodriguez apparently mentioned "blogs" a couple times when announcing that practice is closed. I'm not sure why, since this place hasn't detailed any specific plays Michigan was running during the open section of practice. Any mentions I've made of plays I'd like Michigan to run (tight end shovel! Denard as Percy Harvin!) are total speculation. Total speculation that should be immediately inserted into the playbook, but total speculation nonetheless.
Hanging by a thread, but possibly a thick one. Boubacar Cissoko missed the Iowa game, of course, and has been indefinitely suspended by Rodriguez for matters on the practice field and in the classroom. Weird little fib here:
Cissoko told a reporter earlier in the day he didn't travel with the team because he was "banged up," but would return in the next game.
I guess that's good? Like Cissoko wants to be on the team and might pull out of his tailspin? Or it's bad because he's a nasty fibber. I don't know. Cissoko Transfer DEFCON should be set at 3. He is still practicing with the team:
"Playing football is important to him," Rodriguez said. “And I think his academics are important. But to what level? It has to be at the right level."
I should clarify something I said on the radio yesterday that caused a message board thread; if I said a Cissoko transfer is "likely" that was in error. I meant to say it seemed possible without putting any sort of spin on how likely, or unlikely, that was to occur. Sometimes in the talking you say things less precise than you want to.
(Side note: every time someone shows up on MGoBoard with inside information they're roundly laughed at and negged, and then their info turns out to be accurate. This has happened with Craig Roh starting, Forcier's shoulder injury being more than a bruise, about which more later, and Cissoko not making the trip to Iowa City. MGoBlog is way more locked down that MLive; yes lol Chris Perry's broken leg but let's take context into account. Even someone with 50 points has put in 100x times more cred than an anonymous poster somewhere else. Information on the internet is usually good.)
The Salters thing. There's been quite a bit made of the Lisa Salters quote about Forcier's interaction with Rodriguez on the sideline just before he got pulled. The exact words, according to AA.com:
When a rattled Forcier came to the sideline, Salters said, “He kind of looked over at Coach saying, ‘I don’t know what you want me to do.’”
That sounds like speculation to me, not a direct quote.
The shoulder thing. Jason Forcier is pinged by the Daily and spills a bit more on Tate's shoulder injury:
His shoulder is more injured than I think the public realizes," Jason said. "It's the same thing (Oklahoma quarterback) Sam Bradford did. Maybe not as severe, but an AC joint is an AC joint. Once you injure it, it's hurt for the rest of the year." …
"(Tate)'s being tough," Jason said. "But he's playing against guys that are over three times his size."
Um… that would make Tate approximately 110 pounds. Which seems less improbable when you're talking about Forcier than any other quarterback hanging around, but still pretty improbable.
Meanwhile, this Rodriguez quote on Forcier's practice time from the same article confirms one of this site's theories about the super-lame offense against Michigan State this year:
"His shoulder really limited his practice time the last couple of weeks, but it didn't bother him too much in the game," Rodriguez said. "
This no doubt slowed Michigan's piecemeal installation of the vast and multivariate spread 'n' shred, allowing Michigan State to tee off on the plays they'd already seen with impunity and preventing Michigan from providing the sort of counter-punch they'd like to. A game against a 1-3 I-AA team should allow Michigan a couple weeks to put in new stuff for Penn State, and Forcier's shoulder should continue to get more cooperative as the year goes along.
Brunnnndidge. Our 2011 PG/SG commit is on the youtubes, pretending to get interviewed by ESPN:
HE LIKES MATH! This actually took place after Carlton's freshman year, FWIW, and two months ago someone called him a lawya in the comments. Law on, lawya.
I'll fight the bear. Iowa's evident effort at targeting Donovan Warren was weird to me, and weird to Troy Woolfolk:
Woolfolk, who made four tackles Saturday, said he was surprised Iowa didn’t challenge him more.
“I was like really shocked,” he said. “I asked myself, 'Why aren't they attacking me, the fresh, young blood in the water.' They just kept going to Donovan.”
Iowa got some completions on Warren but it cost them, and the stuff they did get was often of the miracle-throw or safety-bust variety. It seemed foolhardy. Iowa did chuck a couple fades at Woolfolk but neither was completed.
Flowers for Algernon. Michigan Monday is getting pretty stupid of late:
For the game, the Wolverines carried the ball 45 times for 195 yards, a decent 4.3-yard average. Last week Michigan State held Michigan to 28 yards on 28 carries, so obviously things were better than the last time out, but I’m far from convinced that the Wolverines’ running game is “back”.
Of those 195 yards, 53 of them came on a drive in the third quarter where the Wolverines ran the ball almost exclusively from under the center. The drive ended in a touchdown, but the fact that Michigan had to go away from their true running style should be cause for concern. To further badmouth the running game, we need to also mention Michigan’s final two drives of the game, which saw Denard Robinson inserted for a benched Tate Forcier. Michigan started the first drive with 7:42 remaining, down by nine points. Iowa was more than happy to let the Wolverines run the ball the rest of the game, and that’s essentially what they did, rushing for 50 yards on their last two drives.
Basically, over half of Michigan’s rushing yards came when Iowa was happy to see the run or when Tate Forcier was under center, meaning the zone read was pretty well shut down again.
Blather about "true running style": inane.
Rodriguez's true running style is "whatever works," and I kind of doubt Iowa was happy to have Michigan run the ball down the field for a touchdown on a drive that started with eight minutes left, especially once the ball got inside the 20. Michigan didn't turn in a dominating day but consistently creased the Iowa OL and got good yardage all night; they did not break big runs because part of the reason for the consistent success was Iowa laying back with two deep safeties and waiting for Michigan to screw up, which they did. There's plenty to criticize about a Michigan team likely headed for a December bowl game of no note, so why twist yourself into knots in an attempt to knock down the one consistently good aspect of the team?
Outside perspective. Okay, we're off the high of the Notre Dame game and discontent and arguing with people who are yet more discontent still. At this point, though, it's clear that the true disaster projections—which seemed a possibility as Michigan nervously prepared for the Western Michigan game—have gone by the wayside. We're left with those preseason projections, which built in the information that Rich Rodriguez is a very good football coach. Doctor Saturday provides some perspective:
The fact that the Wolverines were banged up, outgained, and reckless with the ball and still only fell by two with a realistic to chance to knock off a conference frontrunner on the road would have been regarded as a very optimistic step five weeks ago, when we were unsure of Rodriguez's grasp on the team. Premature Heisman sites were launched and visions of New Year's Day had begun to dance in September, but this was supposed to be a 7-5 team struggling through growing pains en route to the Champs Sports, and it's beginning to shape up as exactly that.
Whee bowls. The Big Ten has picked up the Gator Bowl, which will be a boring SEC-Big Ten matchup but at least it's a boring SEC-Big Ten matchup that's slanted in the Big Ten's favor. And then they're adding some new thing in the Cotton Bowl:
A new bowl game to be played at Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas will have the No. 7 pick from the Big Ten, which likely will face a team from the Big 12 or Conference USA. The Cotton Bowl Classic will move to Dallas Cowboys Stadium beginning in January, and the new bowl is expected to be played around Jan. 1.
This bumps the Motor City down to #8 and essentially cancels any relationship between the Big Ten and it unless there's just a glut of 6-6 teams one year. Hopefully this is never relevant.
Concussion pants. Notes on Michigan's concussions: both Tate and Brown are good to go for Delaware State.
Etc.: Bowl projections have Michigan in the Champs, Insight, or Alamo against Kansas, Wake, Oklahoma State, or UNC. Bowl projections aren't very useful right now. MSU folk have put up their UFR-O equivalent; this one's way less depressing than the one that handles the other side of the ball.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
MI QB Devin Gardner
Last week: Inkster defeats Muskegon Catholic Central 34-19.
Gardner led the Vikings with 99 yards rushing and 110 yards on 4-of-9 passing.
He also had a single rushing touchdown.
This week: Inkster (4-2) @ Cleveland St. Ignatius.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
|St. Edward||W 14-7|
|Highland Park||W 27-22||9||16||127||2||2||56.25||7.94||11||74||2||6.73|
|Bay City Central||W 27-20||7||13||132||1||0||53.85||10.15||15||95||1||6.33|
|Muskegon CC||W 34-19||4||9||110||0||0||44.44||12.22||99||1|
SC QB Conelius Jones
This week: Spartanburg (2-5) @ Mauldin.
|Conelius Jones 2009|
MI RB Austin White
Last week: Stevenson rocks South Lyon East 47-20.
Senior Austin White rushed for 234 yards and five touchdowns Friday...
The KLAA Central Division champion Spartans... led 19-0 after one quarter as the 6-foot-1, 180-pound White scored on runs of 15, 11 and 71 yards.
Stevenson went ahead 33-0 with two early second-quarter scores – a 1-yard run by Mike Beyer and White’s fourth TD of the night, a 31-yard run.
White, committed to Michigan, added a 3-yard scoring run in the third period.
This week: Stevenson (5-2) has a crossover game against an opponent to be determined.
|Austin White 2009|
|South Lyon||W 37-0||8||173||3||21.63||0||0||0||-|
|South Lyon East||W 47-20||234||5||4.75||0||0||0||-|
TX RB Tony Drake
Last week: Skyline beats Richardson 36-7. Drake ran the ball 13 times for 102 yards, and added a 15-yard pass reception. He didn't find the endzone in the game.
This week: Skyline (6-0) @ Richardson Berkner.
|Tony Drake 2009|
|Plano East||W 45-19||15||167||1||11.13||0||0||0||-|
|Lake Highlands||W 42-27||19||226||2||11.89||1||6||0||6.00|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
This week: Marcus (4-1) @ Southlake Carroll.
|Stephen Hopkins 2009|
|Plano West||W 35-25||28||128||3||4.57|
|Tyler Lee||W 17-7||22||118||1||5.36|
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview Baptist beats Northeast 41-27.
Parkview’s second score came when Drew Dileo ran it in from five yards away. Dileo had 44 yards on seven carries. He also scored on an 18-yard pass from Wilson.
This week: Parkview Baptist (5-1) has a bye.
|Drew Dileo 2009|
|Christian Life||W 60-14||1||50||1||50.00|
|Church Point||W 54-0||2||40||1||20.00|
|Port Allen||W 32-7||11||65||0||5.91||3||92||2||30.67|
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Last week: Pioneer scrapes by Huron 23-19.
Sorise began moving the Pioneers down the field. And after connecting with Miller once once previously in the night, Sorise found a wide-open Miller for a 39-yard reception down to the Huron 5-yard line.
"That was the changing moment in the game," Sorise said. "(Miller) told me if he beat the (defensive back), just to throw it up, throw it deep."
Miller, playing in his first Pioneer-Huron clash, did the rest.
"I told Miles I would go out and get it," Miller said. "I went out and made a play."
Miller's catch left Pioneer only 5 yards from the go-ahead touchdown.
Miller photo by Melanie Maxwell of AnnArbor.com.
This week: Pioneer (6-1) @ Chelsea.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
|Arthur Hill||W 58-20||1||20||0||20.00|
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Last week: Canton South loses to West Branch, 12-28.
Jerald Robinson had 107 yards receiving for the Wildcats on five catches.
This week: Canton South (1-6) v. Marlington.
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Last week: Huron falls to Pioneer 19-23.
The River Rats (3-4, 1-3 SEC) erased a 10-point halftime deficit, using a Jeremy Jackson 5-yard touchdown pass and a successful 2-point conversion in the third quarter to cut into the deficit
Jackson photo by Melanie Maxwell of AnnArbor.com.
This week: Huron (2-4) @ Ypsilanti.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Last week: Harding falls to St. Ignatius 7-10.
This week: Harding (4-2-1) @ Massillon.
OH OL Christian Pace
Last week: Avon Lake beats Berea 42-7.
This week: Avon Lake (4-3) @ Westlake.
OH DT Terry Talbott
This week: Wayne (4-3) @ Beaver Creek.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Last week: Trinity is beaten by Belle Vernon 6-21.
This week: Trinity (1-5) @ West Mifflin.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
Last week: Hampton loses to Knoch 7-10.
This week: Hampton (3-3) v. Mars.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Last week: Liberty falls to Lakeview 14-21.
This week: Liberty (4-3) @ Hubbard.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Last week: Lake Region falls to Ridge Community 6-14.
This week: Lake Region (0-5) @ Frostproof.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Last week: Lexington beats Wooster 34-32.
This week: Lexington (4-2) @ West Holmes.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
This week: Wayne (4-3) @ Beaver Creek.
WI P Will Hagerup
Last week: Whitefish Bay loses to Homestead 0-7.
This week: Whitefish Bay (5-2) @ Cedarburg.
2011 OH CB Greg Brown
Last week: Ross falls to Marion Harding 0-21.
Running several times with wide receiver Greg Brown taking the snap in a Wildcat formation, the Little Giants went from their own 10 to the Harding 38.
Brown, who by a coaching decision was held out of the first half, bolted 13 yards to put the ball on the Presidents 38.
This week: Ross (4-3) v. Napoleon.
|Greg Brown 2009|
|Benedictine||W 28-21 (OT)||6||99||1||16.50|
|Findlay||L 40-43 (3OT)||8||122||1||15.13||0||0||0||-|
|Marion Harding||L 0-21|
This one's pretty simple because the blocking scheme is "hey, receivers, block that guy": it's the edge pitch Michigan debuted over the weekend.
A standard formation with Koger as the near-side slot receiver. Note Forcier's position: he's a yard in front of the tailback—in this case Michael Shaw. This usually means Michigan is running something intended to go up the middle. On pure stretch plays Forcier will be even with the tailback.
Iowa, for its part, is in the base 4-3 cover two they ran the whole game. More about this in UFR later, but if Iowa persists in running this scheme in the future I think Michigan is going to smoke them when their quarterbacks are freshmen who are freakin' out, man.
Here's the snap:
Forcier's got the ball already and you can see Shaw bugging out to the sideline to get a in a pitch relationship with Forcier. There's no counter action on this play, it's just get to the edge as quickly as possible.
A moment later:
Forcier's still got the ball and has hardly moved; you can see by the clock on the field that this is less than a second later. The only things to note here are Iowa's MLB, who's taken a step to the side of the field a stretch would go to, and the defensive end, who has also stepped inside in anticipation of one of Michigan's plays that attacks the backside DE's usual tendency to either crash or head out on the quarterback. His caution, usually rewarded, pulls him out of this play.
A second or two later, Forcier has ditched the ball and is a spectator:
Odoms has whiffed his cut block, unfortunately, leaving a linebacker in space. Iowa safety Tyler Sash is also filling, and the backside DE has reacted to provide some contain.
Shaw gets upfield quickly before the three Iowa defenders can converge…
…and picks up five yards despite Odoms whiffing on one of the two relevant blocks.
- It's hard for this play to not pick up five yards unless the defense is specifically gameplanning for it (which they probably will at some point). Michigan ran this a bunch and the worst it ever did was two yards on second and two, and that was because a receiver ran right by a safety and that safety bounced Minor—who's not the best guy to run this thing—out. At all other times it picked up four to six yards. Opponents will now start preparing for that, which will open up some other stuff, as the defensive end's tendency to slide down the line in an effort to defend the zone counter dive opened up the edge for this play. Cat and mouse goes on forever.
- It's probably never going to break big against a defense like Iowa's. Linebacker versus slot receiver usually doesn't go well and it doesn't develop fast enough to make a cut block, even a really successful one, more than an annoyance when those linebackers are five yards downfield. Then you've got that safety coming downhill unblocked, the backside defensive end peeling back, and linebacker help from the inside. It's weirdly like MSU's power off tackle game, which is likely to pick up 3-5 yards and unlikely to do anything more.
- It's something I bet they wanted to run against MSU, and might work better against an aggressive defense that's using a corner guy as a scrape exchange defender. Iowa plays two deep on every play, which always gives them a safety who can run to the POA and fill. If the corner guy is charging off the slot and sucks in on Forcier, then Odoms can go block the safety and Shaw ends up with a lot of room to run downfield. Or he ends up with that scrape defender in his face. About that…
- This is step one in the evolution of a speed option game. The solution to that is to turn this into a true option play where Forcier threatens to get upfield and takes that scrape defender before pitching, or turns it up himself for yardage. Right now this is just a safe little pitch play that has no read and is easy to run.
|Last week's ballot|
Alabama maintains their top spot, while Florida vaults back up into the poll by virtue of getting its first really big win, couple with Tennessee showing that it was no pushover against Georgia. Considering the Gators have dominated every overmatched opponent they've played, the strength of schedule no longer hurts them that much.
Most of the other moves near the top of the poll were Gator-related. I still like Cincy above Boise State, because the Bearcats have the stronger overall resume, despite not dominating the common opponents quite as much as the Broncos did.
LSU drops down for spoiling their chance for a big win, coupled with Georgia proving that it was basically a nothing victory for them.
Oregon moves up a bit, though that makes me feel guilty for dinging Ohio State despite a pretty good win against Wisconsin.
Nebraska jumps into the poll after finally beating a worthwhile team, instead of just living off their close defeat to Virginia Tech. I get really wary of basically everyone towards the end of the poll, so if there's somebody that I should have included but didn't let me know.
Resume chart after the jump.
- Tate suffered a minor concussion on his last play against Iowa. It was not the reason he sat out the last two drives, however. That was a coaching decision. He is still expected to start against Delaware State, but that's up to the team's medical staff. Both Tate and Denard are still pretty small guys, so the coaching staff is trying to limit the contact that they have to take. People need to remember that they are just freshmen, so a mental mistake here and there is inevitable. Most freshmen, especially QBs, have the luxury of redshirting. Part of what makes Tate and Denard so good is their ability to improvise. Like Pat White, Rasheed Marshall, and Shaun King, they need to be able to improvise within the system.
- The outside receivers are doing a good job blocking, but the team needs to do a better job of getting them the ball as well. Inside receivers are also doing well. Martavious Odoms is very physical despite his size, and Kevin Koger is probably on pace to get a record number of receptions for a tight end under Rich Rod.
- The offensive line played solidly, but they didn't have their best game. That's understandable, because Iowa is one of the best defensive fronts they'll see all year. There are some technical and fundamental things that need to be improved still. The trainers will let Molk run a little this week to evaluate his discomfort.
- Moving Woolfolk down to corner enabled Jordan Kovacs to move to strong safety. Rish first thought about the move after the MSU game, though the defensive coaches may have already been giving it some thought.
- Boubacar Cissoko's suspension is to due academics and other things. He's only practicing with the scout team at this point. He knows what he has to do in order to get back on the field.
- There's still no guarantee of a redshirt for freshmen who haven't seen the field yet. There are 6 more weeks to go, and you never know what can happen. The Cissoko suspension will leave the door open for Justin Turner, in particular.
- It's hard to keep the team emotionally prepared for the Delaware state game, especially coming of a the primetime showdown with Iowa. They need to remember that they'll get DSU's best shot. The reason for games like Delaware State is to get the 8th home game. Hopefully in the future, Michigan will be able to get a bit better competition for that game - though they'll probably stay within the 1-AA ranks. Rodriguez would probably rather have a bye week.
- Moosman and the entire offensive line were "great, but not perfect" against Iowa. The snaps have improved, and Moosman feels like he's finally in a groove at the center position. Moosman is a less intense player at center, and that intensity is what makes Molk great.
- Young QBs are going to make mistakes. They just need to remember that they aren't the only ones: "everyone makes mistakes, they're just in the spotlight."
- Halfway through the season, you'd prefer not to have the two losses, but they've come out and played hard in all 6 games. They've already done better than ;ast year, but there's still a lot more work to do. "We're ready to go."
- Zoltan's mom called to make sure he knew he was selected Big 10 special teams player of the week. It's an honor, but he's not too happy about it because he wanted the team to win.
- Zoltan needs to manage his emotions, and not get too high after a good performance (i.e. against Iowa), nor too low after a bad one (against Michigan State). On the fake against Michigan State, Zoltan said he thought he should punt it, but by the time he had made a decision, he was past the point of no return.
- Zoltan doesn't feel good about the team being 4-2, mostly because of the way it happened. Starting 4-0 then dropping a couple games is a damper. everyone would prefer to be 6-0.
- Troy is happy at either corner or safety, whichever will help him get on the field. He's not sure which is his more natural position, but moving from safety to corner is easier, because he needs to only worry about his guy, and not the entire defensive scheme. When Coach Gibson texted him during class that they needed to have a meeting, Troy thought he did something wrong. He was relieved that it was just about a position switch.
- Soup Campbell always gave Troy a hard time when he was coaching at Michigan. He wanted to talk some trash to soup before the game, but couldn't find him. He thought that Iowa would pick on him all game, but was surprised to see they mostly attacked Donovan.
- Cissoko has responded well to his suspension. He's headed on the right track, and he knows what he did. "Boubacar: He's a fighter, he'll be back."
- Minor's health is improving each week. The only thing that's still bothering him is that he's unable to explode out of his cuts. Still, he's getting pretty close to 100%.
- The offense keeps improving from week-to-week. They need to continue fixing the little things to achieve what they want.
- Though he's a skill-position player, Minor savors contact. He likes to deliver the hit rather than receive it.
- Regardless of the situation, Minor talks to the QBs and keeps their heads on straight. Minor has faith in anybody the coaches throw in there. Denard's pick was a common freshman mistake.
- The team needs to be able to play all 60 minutes of a game in order to win. It's tough to think about being just a couple plays from a 6-0 record. They've lost, however, so 10-2 is the new goal.
- Graham has accepted a more vocal leadership position this year. He still sometimes gets nervous about what exactly he's going to say. Gotta go out there and keep leading, keep practicing hard. Leaders can't be down because the team loses. They have to be the ones to keep the guys up.
- RVB and Mike Martin said sorry to Graham: Don't want him to lose another game in his senior year.
- 3rd down defense is kinda bad, but they're trying to get it together. Sometimes, it's just good plays by the opposing offense. "I don't wanna say lucky, but 3rd and 24? Man, luck has gotta be on your side."
10/10/2009 – Michigan 28, Iowa 30 – 4-2, 1-2 Big Ten
This is probably a time to dispense with the fooferah and get right to the heart of the matter. From our vantage point from the endzone of Kinnick Stadium our instant assumption when Denard Robinson came in was that Forcier had gotten hurt on one of two earlier plays. We couldn't see a whole lot, but we saw a lot of Michigan's third quarter—unfortunately because they spent it next to the wrong endzone. Forcier banged his hand on someone's helmet, then later took a wicked shot from some defensive lineman or another moments after launching another incompletion.
When Robinson came out with around six minutes left, we had a debate about the idea, coming down on the side of "not good." Though Robinson was surprisingly effective driving Michigan for a score-tightening touchdown, the run-based nature of the drive stripped more than three minutes off the clock and saw Michigan attempt an onside kick with about 3:20 left and one timeout. This, too, was seen as a sign that Forcier was hurt: surely if you're going to cast your lot with Denard Robinson on a drive to win you need the ability to run the ball quite a bit. Kicking deep with only Robinson available is tantamount to waving the white flag.
So all that fit together and when Robinson came out after Michigan's defense thwarted Iowa on their attempt to strangle the game, it made sense. Forcier was unavailable, and this was the best Michigan could do. And, hell, it was working all right until Robinson eschewed what looked like a wide open Martavious Odoms in favor of Michigan's third or fourth jump ball into safety coverage. This one did not clatter to the turf harmlessly. As we say in UFR, EOG.
So… yeah. The news that Forcier had to be bodily escorted off the field before Michigan's last drive was less than thrilling. I'm sure this will be breaking no new ground after a couple days of checking in on the blog to see just which items raging about the decision needed to be excised, but for the record:
There are a billion comments across the internet calling the decision "indefensible," many of them drawing direct parallels to the last time a Michigan team visited Iowa. John Beilein sat Manny Harris down for overtime, Michigan lost when Iowa hit an array of circus shots and Manny's replacement, David Merritt, continued being a walk-on instead of Manny Harris, and a very large number of people were peeved, livid, or somewhere in between. This space in the aftermath of that decision:
If he thought Michigan had a better chance to win with David Merritt on the floor, he's nuts. More likely he had about reached his limit and sat him in what appears to be a fit of pique. I get that: Harris at the moment is a basketball doppelganger of Braylon Edwards in his afro phase, when he was benched because he and Carr weren't "on the same page" despite his clear superiority to Michigan's other receiving options. Edwards wised up and blew up. Harris? We'll see.
I would have preferred the teachable moment had not come in overtime of a crucial road game, though. You know.
The two incidents are creepily similar, and my opinion about Saturday is about identical to my opinion about the Manny benching: there were a ton of good reasons to make the move that don't come close to outweighing the enormous one that argued against it. If Michigan had gotten that onside kick and Robinson had three minutes to work with, okay. With 1:40 on the clock, no timeouts, and sixty yards to go, no.
So where does that leave us? Michigan's just experienced a two point loss on the road against a top-15 team during which they were –4 in turnover margin. They got outgained again. Forcier was pretty terrible. Robinson displayed both his talent and his limitations. Rodriguez made a poor decision in the heat of the moment, bursting this site's obvious hope that he was Jesus Ferguson. They're 4-2 in the league with three games they should win left, which would leave them at 7-5 if they don't pick off one of Penn State, Wisconsin, or Ohio State. A walk-on has permanently ascended to the starting lineup.
Add that all together and you get… I don't know. A jumbled mess that's clearly not as soul-destroying as last year's merry band of incompetence but not in any respect good. Michigan has been significantly outgained in each of four games against teams outside of the MAC, and mitigating factors like special teams and turnovers can no longer patch those gaps up. After all that at the start of the season, Michigan's settled about where everyone expected they'd be: still digging out from nuclear winter, looking towards the future with hope and the present with tolerance, at best.
The emotions I had coming out of Kinnick were as much of a mess as the team is. Michigan shot itself in a thousand different ways, busting coverages on two tight end touchdowns and a third and twenty-five that was more damaging than any of the five (five!) turnovers they gacked up with little assistance from Iowa. It was really frustrating to walk away feeling that Michigan should have won but for their own errors—errors that at this point are obviously a fundamental part of what the team is—but the memory of last year hovered, suggesting that the mere idea that errors were only a part of the whole this time around represented progress. Clearly, there is a long way yet to go.
- I know I make fun of people in the comments who believe I have some sort of crazy power over the fortunes of Michigan football that I only use for evil, but dammit Greg Mathews, not only did you drop a punt, give Iowa the ball at the Michigan 16, and eventually lead to that short-field Tony Moeaki touchdown, you did it mere hours after I suggested that I should stop typing HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL as the key matchup in the special teams section. It's hard not to feel personally responsible even though that's completely insane.
- Have seen a number of complaints about the timeout with 27 seconds left before halftime. I wanted Rodriguez to call it at the time; after some consideration I think that was probably not a good idea either. Even if Michigan gets a stop on that third and ten they'd have the ball somewhere on their side of the field with 12 seconds on the clock or whatever. In general I like the bent of Rodriguez's decisions; that one was wrong.
- Another TO complaint: Michigan shouldn't have taken one on third and ten from the one and a half. Just take the penalty there and Michigan's got another 40 seconds to work with on their final drive. I understand it's hard to break the natural inclination to take a timeout when the playclock gets way low, though. That's a corner case that doesn't come up much.
- I don't know exactly whose fault the two busted coverages were but if, as rumored, it was Mike Williams I don't know what you do about it. Woolfolk was physically capable at cornerback and Michigan finally went with the press man they've been talking about since Greg Robinson got hired. Williams definitely let an Iowa receiver behind him on third and twenty-fing-five, and if Moeaki was his guy on either of his touchdowns he's directly responsible for all three Iowa touchdowns. Maybe Iowa would have done something with the last drive, but the first Moeaki TD was on third and twelve; a stop there is a FG attempt. A stop on the third and twenty-five is a punt.
- Michigan did break out some new stuff, grinding Brandon Minor into the line from the I on a successful, Bo-pleasing late touchdown drive and debuting a quick pitch to the sideline that never looked like it was going anywhere but also never failed to gain four to six yards. The former is something Michigan could have tried against State; the latter was probably hampered by Forcier's shoulder issues.
- It seemed like after the first interception from Forcier that he refused to throw to receivers who were open. On a couple third downs there were slants available (I think) that Forcier did not take, instead running around as is his wont. I was pretty frustrated by him, and imagine that Rodriguez was ready to strangle the kid.
- Graham shouldn't be rushing the punter on a punt safe, not that it mattered.
Trip Report Section
City. I can tell you about a lovely Econolodge in Davenport, Iowa, but despite driving out Friday and spending about all of Saturday in Iowa City, I can't tell you much about the city itself. My momentary first impression was that this was a foofy college down as I strolled by some organic eatery down one of those cobbled pedestrian streets you see wherever people are trying to create an area for foot traffic. Then we went in a bar that had six things on the menu, asked if you wanted ranch with your waffle fries, and attempted to purvey something called a "walking taco," which the waitress explained was "um, it's like Doritos in a bag with some meat and cheese and onions and taco stuff thrown in." The stalls in the bathroom didn't have doors on them.
So I was a little confused. I was referring to this experience at the Black Heart Gold Pants tailgate, and I was talking about this place we were, and when asked where, exactly, we were I rakishly pulled out my zinger: "the place with no doors on the stalls." The response was "which one? There are lots of those." So… yeah. Iowa City leans towards the no doors on the stalls. I guess. I saw the inside of a bar, a parking lot, and Kinnick. I am not a one-man Yelp here.
Fans. Excellent. There was the usual dose of meathead yellin' at the guys in the wrong colors—sort of, anyway, the difference between maize and blue and black and gold is not drastic—that you get whenever you go anywhere other than South Bend. Other than that everyone was perfectly nice. At no point did I feel like someone was going to hit me, which is more than I can say for the last few trips to Columbus or East Lansing.
I will note that the male student body of Iowa appears to be 80% meathead.
Kinnick experience, in total. Very classy. All brick exterior, looks like I'd like to see Michigan Stadium end up looking like once they figure out what they're going to do in the endzones:
And the interior:
The stadium itself was a bit smaller than I'd expected. Our seats were strange: section "NB," which ended up standing for "North Bleachers" and was not listed on the map or at all familiar to the first two people we tried to talk to about just where the hell we were supposed to sit. An usher had clue, though, and directed us to five rows of makeshift metal bleachers that were literally on the field in the endzone. We stood the whole game, which was fine because from appearances so did the rest of the place.
Despite that, it didn't seem particularly noisy. It got loud on important third downs but I thought it was about on part with Michigan Stadium. FWIW. I am apparently terrible at discerning variable noise levels, given my reaction to this year's addition of luxury boxes.
There's a full gallery by Anthony here.
PIPE IT IN BABY. The Iowa marching band might as well not exist. I don't know if this was a homecoming thing, but they didn't even march pregame—the alumni band did—and had a seriously abbreviated halftime show so that a Hawkeye inductee to the CFHOF could get his due. During the game they hardly played, and when they did play they mostly played marching band versions of songs that had already been piped in over the PA.
This disaster was played incessantly over the PA, and we, not being 14-year-old-girls, didn't know what it was. Friend of Blog joked that it was probably a Jonas Brothers song, and we laughed, and then we thought to ourselves IS that a Jonas Brothers song? It turns out no, but it's by the Black Eyed Peas, which is 95% as emasculating. Hell, this imeem playlist by one Shelby Veppert, who—no foolies—is a 19-year old from Columbus who lists Nickelback(!!!) as one of her favorite bands, has the song sandwiched between two Jonas Brothers songs. If Michigan Stadium ever has anything that can be considered a sort of theme song I'm going to buy out Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork, and if it's ever something as terrifyingly fey as that thing, I'll storm the castle myself.
Site note: Michigan's homecoming activities murder Iowa's, chop them up, and put them in a bag. Iowa basically has the alumni band play the fight song and march off the field, then has a tedious announcement of various alumni who helped out and the members of the homecoming court*. And that's it. Michigan has a goofy prohibition-era cheer, awesome flipping 80-year-old alumni cheerleaders, a terrific combined-band halftime show, and that one crazy old drum-major who rips it up every year. I love homecoming at Michigan Stadium, and was excited to get the Iowa version of it. I didn't get it.
*(The homecoming king was a bioengineering (or something along those lines) major named Rohit… Naha… Romin… fromblobololgbogl. The telltale pause from the very Iowan public address announcer after the poorly-pronounced "Rohit" promised three seconds of pure unadulterated awesome, and that promise was delivered upon.)